The annual literary phenomenon known as Litquake is now held in 13 cities around the world, but just like with Major League Baseball teams — the best one is in San Francisco. Litquake was founded here in our fair city, and returns for its 16th year beginning Friday with more than 80 events over nine days at locations both conventional and ridiculous, offering encounters that will appeal to bookworms, poets, writers, bloggers, editors, footnote-takers, and all those who remember these things we used to call “books”.

Look, Litquake has a trailer this year! There’s a huge litter of literary events forthcoming, but we’ve picked out these 16 must-book Litquake 2016 engagements.

Friday, October 7
Shakespeare @ 400: Litquake's Opening Night Gala
William Shakespeare doesn’t look a day over 350, but the 400th anniversary of his death is commemorated at this Elizabethan Opening Night gala with “off-color” performances by SF Shakes, harpist Shelley Phillips and contemporary bard Gary Soto. $30, Green Room San Francisco War Memorial and Performing Arts Center, Tickets here

Saturday, October 8
I Thought It Sucked: One-Star Reviews of Best-Loved Books
Terrible comments are read by brilliant writers as random ignorants’ Amazon reviews of great novels are given proper literary readings by Lauren Parker, Lydia Popovich, Na'amen Tilahun, and others. $5, Elbo Room, Tickets here

GONZO: 50 Years of Hunter S. Thompson
Litquake co-founder Jack Boulware does the heavy lifting moderating this all-star panel of Hunter S. Thompson’s friends and chroniclers, featuring Susie Bright, Cintra Wilson and Salon co-founder Gary Kamiya. And did you know that there is a forthcoming Hunter S. Thompson anthology edited by the recently deceased Warren Hinckle? There is, and it will be read from. $20, Swedish American Hall, Tickets here

Teenquake + SFPL: Lit Swap
I’d be deplorable to not mention events in the adorable Teenquake series, which include this free public library bookswap, the October 11 Haiku-a-thon at Moleskine and the October 13 Sci-Fi vs. Fantasy. Free, San Francisco Public Library Main Branch,


Sunday, October 9
Riding Out Doomsday: Michelle Tea with Daniel Handler

San Francisco dykon Michelle Tea reads from her new book Black Wave and holds court with Daniel “Lemony Snicket” Handler. $15, American Bookbinders Museum, Tickets here

Poetry in Parks: An All-Day Celebration on Mt. Tamalpais
Could there be a more elegant Sunday than an all-day outdoor poetry reading on Mount Tamalpais? Sip and nibble on things to a marathon of top Bay Area poets at the Mountain Theater at Quiet Lightning’s 100th show. Free, Cushing Memorial-Mountain Theater, Mount Tamalpais

Monday, October 10
Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders
The website you should be paying more attention to Atlas Obscura has a new book out, and Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders gets its San Francisco launch at this unveiling. Free, Book Club of California

Life During Wartime: A Night of Porchlight Storytelling
Porchlight is a big turn-on for longtime Litquake fans, and this set of war stories is accompanied by Marc and the Casuals’ Marc Chappelle and — of course — hosted by Beth Lisick and Arline Klatte. $20, Verdi Club, Tickets here

Photo via Facebook

Tuesday, October 11
Ghostland: Colin Dickey at Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose plays host to an author reading of Colin Dickey’s new book Ghostland followed by a discussion certain to be attended by terrifying ghosts of people killed by Winchester rifles. $15, Winchester Mystery House, Tickets here

I Almost Forgot About You: An Evening with Terry McMillan
Get your groove back with Waiting To Exhale author Terry McMillan, whose new book I Almost Forgot About You is just out to outstanding reviews. $15, Swedish-American Hall, Tickets here

Wednesday, October 12
An Evening With John Doe

X guitarist John Doe has a new book out about the late 70’s and early 80s punk scene, Under the Big Black Sun. He’ll read from it and sign copies at this event co-presented by NoisePop. $15, Swedish American Hall, Tickets here

Image: Ellen Datlow via Flickr

Straight, No Chaser: Writers at the Bar
The quintessential Litquake experience is a free drunk-author reading at North Beach’s Vesuvio Cafe, this one featuring Charlie Jane Anders, feminist Muslim Iranian-American comedian Zahra Noorbakhsh and Salon columnist D. Watkins. Free, Vesuvio Cafe

American Lyric: Claudia Rankine in Conversation
Claudia Rankine has the distinction of writing the only poetry book that’s landed on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list. Swedish American Hall, $15, Tickets here

Reading Roulette: Literary Karaoke With A Twist
Your ridiculous challenge, should you accept it, is to compete in a literary game show by reading random passages from well-known books in a randomly assigned celebrity impersonation voice. Seduction Feroce host Wonder Dave leads a literary panel that will judge contestants. Make-Out Room, $5, Tickets here

Thomas Dolby, The Speed Of Sound
Thomas Dolby has a new memoir out, and he’ll be blinding us with insights in a discussion with ex-Mythbuster Kari Byron. $15, Swedish American Hall, Tickets here

The booziest and most open container-y event at Litquake’s is the grand finale Litcrawl, a crosstown hopscotch at venues both indoor and out that will turn out more than 10,000 people and incomparable ensembles of hipster apparel. Full schedule here, events are generally free

Image: Steven Damron via Flickr

Related: The 14 Best San Francisco-Set Novels

Image: Gretchen Sayers,